Yesterday, a very highly qualified referee, and that is a sincere statement, stated that the placement of the ball for the indirect free kick resulting from the goalie picking up a deliberate pass back was where the pass originated from.

In this example, not in the penalty area where the goalie picked the ball up, but some 30 yards up field near the halfway line.

His justification was that the foul did not occur when the goalie touched the ball but when the pass was made by the defender and that this was a somewhat “recent advice” to officials regarding “returning the ball to the origination of the foul” or some such notion that he believes was handed down by the rules interpreters.

Three certified officials, 2 of us that were playing in the match and the Match Ref, were later amicably discussing the decision and could agree.

I seem to only be able to find in the rules and advices that the indirect free kick is taken from the spot of infringement.

I believe the foul only occurs when the goalie picks up the ball and the Indirect free kick should always be in the penalty area, since if he touches it outside the area it would be a Direct free kick.

The applicable rule appears to be: Law 12

An indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a goalkeeper, inside his own penalty area, commits any of the following four offenses:
• touches the ball with his hands after it has been deliberately kicked to him by a teammate

Correct? Yea or Nay?

USSF answer (June 16, 2008):
If so many officials are getting it wrong, perhaps it is fortunate that you sent in this question. You are, of course, correct and the “very highly qualified referee” is dead wrong.

It is not an infringement of the Law to kick the ball to the goalkeeper, as the goalkeeper has the right to play the ball with the feet at any legal opportunity. The Law spells out perfectly clearly when the offense takes place: When the goalkeeper “touches the ball with his hands,” etc. The restart takes place at that place, bearing in mind the special circumstances regarding free kicks in the goal area.

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